Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ground pork & chocolate ragu

What's an Italoamericano do in order to mark the best-known Mexican heritage celebration observed in these United States, Cinco de Mayo?

Not a thing, usually. Not this Italoamericano anyway.

And so it was quite the coincidence that I was moved to make this pretty-damn-close-to-Mexican mole sauce this weekend.

It is a Sicilian recipe, one that I had run across in a cookbook gifted to me just last week, Arthur Schwartz's "The Southern Italian Table." The Spaniards, Schwartz explains, introduced chocolate and cinnamon to Sicily, via Mexico, centuries ago. And as soon as I laid eyes on his recipe for "Enna's Ground Pork Ragu with Chocolate" I made a beeline for the kitchen so's I could check on my ingredients.

How was I supposed to know that it was Cinco de Mayo? All this particular May 5th meant to me was that a big dinner needed to be prepared for the evening, and that my brother Joe would be texting at some point to see if I had made my Derby pick.

Anyhow, here's the sauce. It's a snap to prepare, and it's good too.

¡Buen provecho!

Enna's Ground Pork Ragu with Chocolate
Adapted from "The Southern Italian Table"
by Arthur Schwartz

Makes 7 cups

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 12-oz. can tomato paste
1 quart water
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. sugar
Grated cheese for serving

In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan saute the onion in olive oil until wilted.
Add the pork and break up over medium heat until raw color disappears.
Add the wine and simmer for a couple minutes over slightly higher heat.
Add tomato paste and water; stir and bring to a simmer.
Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, chocolate and sugar. Stir until chocolate melts, reduce heat and simmer for around 30 minutes.
Serve over pasta with grated cheese of your choosing.


Claudia said...

This does speak of Mexico - but am noting this for my next ragu-dinner. I always do the same one... So, Mexico gave Spain chocolate and then the Spanish gave it to the Italians? How'd you do in the Derby?

Mister Meatball said...

Some advice on the sauce: It's better after a couple days.

Advice on the ponies I am not so qualified to offer.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I know chocolate is used in mole, but I would never have thought in spaghetti sauce. But Arthur Schwarz is one of my favorites, so who am I to question? It sure looks good in the photo.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This is a very interesting recipe, Mr. Meatball. I'm not sure how my husband would react to a chocolate pork combination, so i'd love to try it out frist to be able to see if he'd like it.

Cucina49 said...

That is a really stunning ragu--it reminds me of one from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Emilia-Romagna cookbook, but the chocolate is a new touch.